The Struggle for Troy
The Munich Aegina Sculptures with Thorvaldsen's restorations

30.09.2015 to 16.05.2016
Altes Museum

The pedimental figures from the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina (c. 500/490–490/480 BCE) are among the most famous and beautiful of all Greek marble sculptures. Excavated in 1811, they have formed part of the precious collection of the Munich Glyptothek since 1827. The Aegina sculptures depict the two Trojan Wars: Greeks and Trojans are entangled in violent conflict. The tutelary goddess of the Greeks, Athena, stands majestically in the centre of both pediments.

In 1815, the great Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen, began work on completing the missing sections of the sculptures in the classical style. As early as the late 19th century, however, these restorations were the subject of controversial debate and they were finally completely removed in 1963–1965. In 2011, to mark the 200th anniversary of their discovery, the Glyptothek put on display in Munich new artificial-marble casts of the original sculptures, with Thorvaldsen's restored sections once again in place.

These ensembles are now on display in the rotunda of the Altes Museum. In their Berlin setting, the Aegina sculptures enter into dialogue with the Rotunda's resident sculptures of Greek and Roman gods, likewise restored in the early 19th century, and for the first time can be seen in the round, with their original classical decoration and colour.

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